Tumblr 103


a. How is the site organized – what are its protocols?

Tumblr is organized by many individual pictures, gifs (motion pictures), boxes of text listed on a page that conforms to your personal interests. Each image that is listed on the page gives you the option to “Share”, “Reblog” or “Like”. With these settings it allows users to not only share content and respond back and forth on the content, but it also allows users to create their own content for many others to see.

The protocols for Tumblr, from what I could comprehend and research, are as follows.

-You must be a registered user with a legitament email address and name to post content on the site.

-To have a professional theme to your individual blog, you have to pay. Aside form that, you can customize your blog with the themes Tumblr provides for you.

-Your blog is public and cannot be “password protected”, but specific posts can be made private (Tumblr, 2012)

-Tumblr limits its users to 250 daily posts to control “bandwidth and spamming” (Tumblr, 2012)

b. What are the central technological features of the site?

The main technological features that are on Tumblr consist of “Sharing, Reblogging & Liking” buttons on each piece of media on the site. Along with these three button are also a collection of options for creating your own post. Your options for a new post are using “Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio & Video”, which are fairly useful.

c. How do you interact with the site and how does it facilitate interactions between users?

Interaction does not happen only within the sharing & reblogging of each others content, but users can exchange messages. Messages can be as simple as a message consisting of text only, or you can add photos and media content to them.

d. Do you have to register? Can you adjust privacy settings?

You cannot post to Tumblr or create media on Tumblr unless you are registered on the site with an email, birthday and username. There are some privacy settings, but they are slim. Because the site is made to post your content publicly and be shared with users all across the site, it’s hard to be “private”. One way you can be more private though is adjust who can see individual posts you make.

e. What are the defaults?

When creating a Tumblr the defaults are asking the new user to choose a blog username and choose what they’re “interested in”. As far as privacy goes, the defaults are “Let people find your blogs through your email address” was turned on, “Email me about account activity” was turned on, “English” was the automatic language, and your last “Active session” was shown as well (with no way to hide it).

f. In what ways do the protocols shape the way you are able to move through and use the site?

When you log in, you are automatically brought to your “home” page where your personalized collection of images (created by Tumblr) is. This starts each experience with the main function of “sharing” and “reblogging” content. This encourages users to scan through new content first, before creating new content. Although this could potentially discourage users from creating their content, it’s more so a first login distraction than a discouragement.

g. What kinds of usages does the technology encourage?

The technology of this site encourages its users to create “creative” content that others will enjoy and want to “spread” throughout the site. They give you an entire page dedicated to creating your own posts with pre-selected options in order to do so.

h. What kind of metadata is the site encouraging us to create?

The type of metadata that Tumblr encourages its users to create metadata that is easily spreadable.

i. How do these protocols shape the kinds of content and relationships available through the site?

The protocols that Tumblr enforces and has embedded within its site shapes a “community feel” as far as relationships go. The users feel connected to one another because the content they create is related to by many others. Not only can the other users “like” the content, but they can communicate back and forth on the content and create a sense of understanding and agreement.

2. Users/Use

a. How many users does the site have?

The site has an average of 550 million monthly users (Smith, 2016)

b. What general data can you find about users?

The percentage of Tumblr users is 69% (obviously over half of the registered users), 42% of the Tumblr traffic stems from the U.S., 78% of its users access Tumblr through a mobile device, the “average daily Tumblr signup” number is 120,000. (Smith, 2016)

c. Are the users amateurs? Professionals? A blending?

The users on Tumblr are mostly amateurs, from what I can find. Although there are definitely more popular blogs than others, most of the users kind of “get lucky” on when a piece of their content goes viral.

d. What draws users to the site – what are they using it for – connecting, promoting, sharing, etc.?

From what I can tell, people use Tumblr as a way to connect their ideas with others as well as express thoughts and feelings about various topics ranging from serious feelings to humorous gifs.

e. What do users seem to be “doing” on the site?

Essentially on Tumblr, users connect and relate to each other. Whether a user only “reblogs” or only “creates” content, it’s an understanding through the users that either is fine and they can appreciate the connection that person has to the others content.

f. How do users respond to decisions about the site? What complaints have users lodged against the site?

If users have a complaint about another user, how things are being run or why their specific content is taken down or flagged, the Tumblr “About” page gives you contact information to speak with someone in the company about it. The only complaints I could see were from people complaining about explicit content that wasn’t appropriate for all users. Things like pornography and language were big complains from parents (Unknown).

3. Content

a. What kind of material is presented on the site? How does the site arrange content?

As I had written about in my first blog posting, the material on Tumblr is very inclusive to diversity. Different interests, topics and opinions are posted throughout the site. If you decide you dislike what a specific blogger is posting, you can “unfollow” them so you don’t have to be associated with that content.

The content itself is arranged on a “home” page where all of your followed blogs are put together in a collected mix of the most recent content up top. Aside from the home page is a page with your personal posts that you have created and published for the Tumblr viewers to see.

b. Is the content produced by users or shared by users?

The content is made by others on the Tumblr site itself. There is a specific tab dedicated to letting its users create their own posts to publish.

c. How is content arranged and shared?

These two questions are answered above.

d. What is actually ON the site?

The content is endless, it ranges anywhere from lengthier posts about feelings, to “gifs” of celebrities saying famous lines to individual users putting audio with a picture. All of this content is focused around different categories based upon the users interest.

e. To what extent is the content standardized? To what extent do users veer from that standardization?

Most of the posts are short, which is what the site was designed for, not like a tradition blog where you can write hundreds of thousands of words. Where some users do veer away from that though is when they combine multiple medias to make a lengthier post. For example scenes from popular movies can be pieced together to make 6 or 7 posts into one.

4. Ownership

a. Who owns the site? Is it a private owner or publicly held?

According to ABC news, Tumblr was bought by the Yahoo company in 2013. So when Tumblr was bought by Yahoo it switched from a privately owned site to a publicly owned one.

b. Is it part of a larger corporation, or a corporation on its own?

It is part of the Yahoo company since 2013.

c. What motivates the owners to maintain the site? Profits now? Profits down the road?

David Karp, the CEO and Founder of Tumblr, in an ABC news interview said that Tumblr’s mission is “to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve” (Mac, 2013). Although the users certainly motivate the owner to maintain the site, I’m sure the profit does as well. When Yahoo bought Tumblr in 2013, they paid a whopping $1.1 billion for the company. “Karp will receive about $250 million in cash and a small amount of Yahoo stock.” (Stern, 2013)

d. Does the site fit into a broader strategy?

From what I can tell the site doesn’t have any other “alternative” motives to what it’s being run for. It was created for users to have a safe place to be creative and that’s all I’ve seen from it.


5. Business

a. How does the site make money?

Since being bought from Yahoo in 2013, Tumblr now makes money through advertisements. Ads were not prevalent on the site until it was bought by Yahoo.

b. How does advertising work on the site (if there is any?)

Within the postings of bloggers are ads sporadically posted. They range anywhere from advertising for Yahoo itself or for individual companies. If a company wants to put an advertisement through Tumblr there are many rules and guidelines you must follow in order to be accepted by the site.

c. Does the site charge fees for use?

It does charge a percentage fee from what Tumblr’s about page listed, although I could not find a specific amount.

d. What kind of metadata does the site collect and how does it try to monetize that?

The site collects your interests, right off the bat. From the first time you enter in “What’re you Into?”, it collects that information and uses it throughout your experience on the site.

e. How does the site try to maximize connectivity in order to monetize connectedness?

I think the way Tumblr runs in a simple “Share, Reblog & Like” system, it makes connectivity between users fairly easy. Then the more you reblog, the more information the site collects on its users and what they truly “into”.

f. Governance

  1. What are the terms of service?

There is an extensive listing of the Terms & Services for Tumblr. Of course when you create a Tumblr you must agree in order to maintain a profile. But what I really like about how they set up their Terms is that they have an entire page dedicated to explaining their terms in a way that its users can understand.

2. What is the relationship between users and owners?

The CEO, David Karp and the rest of his team is fairly open with their users. They have multiple ways to get into contact with somebody at Tumblr and they have a ton of information listed on their site to be transparent with users.


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